The diversity of Thessaly
Areas of natural beauty, green valleys, mountain villages and beautiful beaches.
The Thessalian plain has become known as one of the most well-endowed, fertile areas in Greece. Not only because of its huge production of excellent quality fruit and dairy produce, but because it also combines; the greenery of nature with the beaches of the Pagasetic Gulf and the Aegean, mountain as well as coastal villages, byzantine monasteries and archaeological sites with industrial and neoclassical buildings. From Pelion, the famous Lake Plastira, the stunning Meteora and the beautiful valley of Tempi which is watered by the river Pineios, to the Sporades, just a stone’s throw away, Thessaly is a destination characterized by its simplicity and its natural beauty.
The Holy Rocks of Meteora
One of the most important religious centres in the country, the complex of monasteries built in an area of stunning beauty have rightfully earned their place as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. The six monasteries, all of which are still in use today, are located at a height of 313m on steep rock pillars. The name derives from St. Athanasios who founded the first monastery on Broad Rock in 1344. These monasteries on Meteora with their unique stone architecture and stunning views are among the most beautiful Orthodox monasteries in the world.
Lake Plastira: the Ornament of Thessaly
This artificial lake offers irresistible beauty thanks to the greenery which surrounds it, the fantastic views, the traditional villages with stone houses and luxury accommodation, the monasteries, museums, caves and bridges, Lake Plastira is the number one destination for nature lovers who choose Thessaly for their holidays but also for those who seek peace and quiet and some time away from the rat race. Equally impressive is the arched dam which surrounds the lake, it is the best point from which to gaze at the beauty of the lake.
The Sporades: just a stone’s throw away
Three of the most important islands, three earthly paradises can be found just a stone’s throw away from the region of Magnesia. Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos offer significant benefits; enchanting beaches (Koukounaries, Kastani, Kokkinokastro), a well-organised tourist infrastructure, beach bars and tavernas, entertainment and tourism throughout the summer months. Travel to these cosmopolitan islands which preserve the unspoilt beauty of the Aegean.
A trip to enchanting Pelion
Pelion: an all year round destination with picturesque mountain villages, perfect examples of traditional stone architecture with churches, bridges, cobbled streets, forests of plane, beech and oak trees, accommodation and hostels famous for their hospitality, crystal clear seas with a view of the Pagasetic Gulf and the Aegean; Pelion can offer whatever holiday you are looking for. During the summer, the famous beaches (Milopotamos, Plaka, Agioi Saranda, Fakistra, Kala Nera) attract crowds of people who enjoy the clean water and the charming landscape, while in the winter, the dozens of delightful villages play host to visitors who want to take advantage of the snow and skiing facilities.
The Archaeological Heritage of Thessaly
The enormous wealth of archaeological remains in Thessaly is sure to impress. From Sesklo, an ancient Neolithic settlement a short distance from Volos, to the prehistoric settlement of Dimini with its Mycenaean tholos tombs, the first ancient theatre of Larissa, the numerous museums of Volos and Larissa, not to mention the monasteries, especially those of Meteora, Thessaly is full of small miracles of history which have stood the test of time.
The Cities of Thessaly
These are cities with a modern air but a traditional touch, beautiful places ideal for rest and relaxation. Volos, Larissa, Trikala, Karditsa, cultural centres waiting for you to explore them. With these cities as a starting point, the options are endless.
Volos: sophisticated buildings coexist with the large proportion of industrial buildings in this important Greek city. Volos, famous for its “tsipouradika”, its nightclubs and cafes, offers all kinds of entertainment as well as gastronomic delights. Its museums are also worth visiting including the Thessaly Railway Museum. Volos is also the birthplace of the painter Giorgio de Chirico who lived and worked in Volos and a collection of his works can be seen in the city’s art centre. A short distance away from the capital of the region of Magnesia are the archaeological sites of Sesklo and Dimini and Mount Pelion.
Larissa: a byword for development with its beautiful parks, (Park Alkazar) its two impressive ancient theatres, Byzantine and Ottoman monuments, museums and other cultural sites, lies on two banks of the river Pineios. On the hill of St. Achilles, the acropolis of the ancient town, you can see the remains of the temple of Vasiliki
Trikala: Just a stone’s throw from enchanting Meteora, the village of Elati and the ski resort at Pertouli, Trikal boasts some impressive sights. Visit the fortress with its clock, the Matsopoulos Mill, a remnant of industrial heritage and the archaeological site of Asklepius.
Karditsa: The grove of Pafsilipo, the grove of a thousand trees, the marketplace with shops, traditional tsipouradika, the folk museum which includes the personal effects of Greek General and Prime Minister Nikolaos Plastiras, the Byzantine castle and of course the earthly paradise of Lake Plastira are just some of the reasons to love Karditsa.
Thessaly offers visitors a wide variety of sea and mountain activities. Specifically, Pelion is ideal for hiking or skiing at the ski resort which is crowded in the winter months. The idyllic beaches are perfect for diving and other water sports like sailing. From Pelion to Lake Plastira where you have the chance to try birdwatching but also cycling, canoeing, kayaking, and archery, all of which are becoming more popular in this area. If sport isn’t really your cup of tea, you can spend your days exploring Thessaly’s delightful villages which are sure to impress you.
Thessaly is famous for its pies with traditional pastry; “batzina” , “chortopita” , aubergine pie, meat pie etc. Local specialities include “prasoselino” (leeks and celery), various cheeses and cheese products such as “tsalafouti”, feta, “retseli” a spoon sweet made from pumpkin and must, spicy sausages, trout, mostly from the Achelous river, apples, chestnuts, honey, spoon sweets, frumenty (cracked wheat), tsipouro and local wines.